Sand storm. Source: pxhere

Haboob over Syria, Iraq & Saudi Arabia

5 June 2005 00:00 UTC

Sand storm. Source: pxhere
Sand storm. Source: pxhere

Dust squall (haboob) over Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia in June 2005.

Last Updated

24 May 2022

Published on

05 June 2005

By Jochen Kerkmann (EUMETSAT)

The sequence of MSG Dust RGB products (Figure 1) depicts the origination and ensuing trajectory of a dust squall (also called haboob, from the Arabic word 'haboob' meaning strong wind) originating from a complex of thunderstorms over Lebanon/Syria.

Figure 1: Meteosat-8 Dust RGB, 5 June 09:00–23:45 UTC

The synoptic situation of this case can be inferred from the Airmass RGB product (Figure 2), which shows a Potential Vorticity (PV) anomaly over the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan (see red-coloured area). On the eastern side of this PV anomaly, in the area of forced upward motion throughout a deep tropospheric layer, intense convection was initiated, probably helped by orographic convection over the Lebanese mountains.

Dust squall (haboob) over Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia
Figure 2: Meteosat-8 Airmass RGB, 5 June 12:00 UTC

Note that, during the night, the haboob crosses Iraq with a sharp demarcation at the frontal boundary. At this point, the parent storms have long dissipated and their remnants drifted to the northeast, leaving behind only the haboob within the gradually decaying outflow. Finally, on the following day (6 June), the haboob moves into northern Saudi Arabia, thus, travelling a distance of roughly 800km in 24 hours (average speed of 33km/h). For a more detailed description of this case, see the paper Haboob dust storms of the southern Arabian Peninsula (Steven Miller et al., 2008).